How can social change organizations – facing increased competition for fewer public and private resources – grow and diversify their funding in ways that reflect their justice-based missions and values?
Based on RCLA’s work side-by-side with social change leaders for almost a decade, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation partnered with RCLA to deliver insights into fundraising and revenue-generation strategies that can sustain nonprofits.
The research draws on the expertise of social change agents doing the creative and difficult work of fundraising and generating revenue for sustainable social justice, as well as the grantmakers and technical assistance providers delivering critical support for these efforts.
The report features inventive approaches to adapting traditional fundraising methods to suit the needs of social justice work, harnessing the potential of social media and selling mission-related goods. These models for generating much-needed resources enable nonprofits to continue their vital work over the long term.
The Mertz Gilmore Foundation is a private, independent grantmaking institution that supports and promotes vibrant communities, the performing arts and a sustainable environment. The Foundation uses a variety of philanthropic strategies to strengthen civic and cultural institutions in underserved communities of New York City and to address the climate crisis.
In environments of material scarcity, where people operate on the margins of power structures, social change leaders see abundant possibility. They work with resourceful and purposeful action, propelled to enact a vision of a more just world.
A major contribution of RCLA's research to the leadership field has been illuminating the specific leadership practices that community-based nonprofits employ to build leadership capital and create social change. While often overlooked in leadership studies, social change nonprofits represent a rich and essential resource for US civil society, serve as bellwethers for the field, and enact profound reforms to broken systems and structures. This work toward the common good reflects the human spirit at its best, and this leadership is essential to guarantee, sustain and invigorate democracy.
RCLA's findings are based on research through the Leadership for a Changing World program, a partnership between the Ford Foundation, the Institute for Sustainable Communities and NYU Wagner.